Charles Jones of Alpha Elite Transportation LLC talks about using Broker Apps.
Charles Jones is not wrong: it seems many large Brokers are contributing their own eBOL app to the ever-expanding pool of “Broker Apps.”
What are Broker Apps?
These electronic Bills of Lading apps perform the traditional electronic Proof of Delivery (with inspection photos and customer signatures.) While it is beneficial for a Broker to have it’s own eBOL app, the reality is that Carriers become burdened with using four or five faulty, inadequate load-processing apps in order to stay compliant.
Plus, carriers don’t own this information system. Brokers ultimately keep the inspection photos, the BOLs and the invoices. This results in Carrier load information being scattered across businesses, rather than with the Carrier himself.
We believe Carriers deserve to own their own business data.
Is Super Dispatch worried about Broker Apps?
We at Super Dispatch see this Broker App issue as a continuation of the same problem that has plagued the industry for years: fragmentation, which has lead to lack of trust and communication.
Lack of trust between brokers and carriers, between dispatchers and drivers, between shippers and brokers.
When every major broker creates their own redundant eBOL app, they perpetuate the status quo we have had for years in car hauling.
Super Dispatch does not see the rise of Broker Apps as competition in our market. Other than the fact that we provide far more than load processing for our car haulers, we are also unaffiliated with any one broker. We plan to stay that way.
When we created Super Dispatch to process electronic Bills of Lading in 2013, we were aiming to make Carriers lives easier, not harder. Now we have expanded into becoming the most popular Transportation Management System for the car hauling industry. And our mission is still to make the lives of Carriers easier.
We listen to our Carriers and implement their suggestions. We work with any broker that wants to work with us. And we aim to connect this fragmented market, not tear it apart. Some Brokers have embraced that, because when Carriers lives are easier, Brokers lives are easier.
What do our customers think about Broker Apps?
Some of our customers have had the biggest problem with apps like United Road. Through interviewing our most frustrated customers, we found that apps like VTas have buggy, unusable interfaces. Some of our customers have asked United Road to use third party apps like Super Dispatch, but to no avail.
“I’m just not working with these brokers anymore,” said Tom of Fury Transport, a 2-year-old Super Dispatch customer. “It’s just not worth it to use their app when it’s horrible. I voice my opinions to them all the time. But they just don’t care.”
This is the common thread among app complaints. Creators don’t care if their system is fault and they won’t pay Carriers who use their own systems.
“It’s just a shame that you have to use their app or they won’t pay you,” Tom said. “I guess it’s their rules, their business. But it just makes it really hard.”
Our customers have had mixed experiences with other apps, like CarsArrive.
“I think they copied your design after I told them how terrible their app was,” said Chris of Blue Moon Transportation, a customer of Super Dispatch for about a year. “Because about a year ago they totally changed their interface.”
“CarsArrive is okay,” Tom said. “They have gotten better, but I still prefer Super Dispatch.”
Some Brokers have embraced that, because when Carriers lives are easier, Brokers lives are easier.
While some Brokers are slowly improving their apps, we have also noticed some Brokers easing their restrictions on use.
Montway’s use of ship.cars has apparently loosened some of their restrictions. Earlier this year our customer Alpha Elite told us that Montway would only let him use ship.cars for their loads.
“But they would only let us pick up their loads [with their app,] so I was like no,” Charles of Alpha Elite said. “So I just don’t use Montway anymore.”
But more recently, another customer said ship.cars would allow companies to use Super Dispatch to process their loads, albeit temporarily.
“I spoke with the Manager [at Montway,] Mike,” Tom said. “He said ‘We are transitioning into electronic BOLs. We are aware of Super Dispatch, we like it, you can use it.’ But he said in the future they’re going to move over to strictly [ship.cars.]”
And a growing number of brokers are allowing our customers to continue using our app.
“I voiced my concerns to Ready Auto Transport with their 1Dispatch app,” Tom said. “I asked if I could use this awesome app, Super Dispatch. They got back to me and said ‘You know what, as long as it has our requirements, you can do that.’” Ready Auto spoke to us over the phone about their requirements. They said that as long as the transporter includes their required photos, they have no problem accepting Bills of Lading and invoices through Super Dispatch.
We at Super Dispatch want to change the status quo. We think the system we have created has contributed to a balance of leverage in an historically unequal marketplace. And we think that the market can only benefit from more change.
We hope to keep changing the marketplace through building relationships across the car hauling industry and creating a better environment for all players.
One of the projects we have created to connect the marketplace is what we call a “Broker Portal.” We aim to provide the Brokers with the load visibility they want with this portal, without compromising the commitment we have made to our Carrier base.
We will continue to show our commitment how we always have; through the implementation of carrier feedback, collaboration with anyone willing to work with us and the continuation of our transparent and objective stance in the marketplace.
In the meantime, stay tuned for our ‘How to use Broker Apps More Efficiently” guide coming next week.
What is your experience with Broker Apps? Do you have any helpful tips for our guide next week? Tell us in the comments!